|Grand Canyon National Park, one of the quintessential national parks in the United States.|
The National Park Service was established on August 25, 1916, by the National Park Service Organic Act as passed by Congress and then-president Woodrow Wilson. Actual national parks are older than 1916, however, with Yellowstone National Park (established in 1872) being the first national park in the United States. Several other national parks were then created, but each of the parks were individually managed. As the parks grew in number, Congress decided to establish an agency that would collectively oversee the parks, instead of leaving them to be individually managed.
covered previously. In addition to National Monuments and National Parks, the agency manages several other types of locations such as National Historic Sites, National Battlefield Parks, National Parkways, National Recreation Areas, National Seashores, and other such properties.
at this link) in Arizona. It was the first park I was able to visit west of the Mississippi River, and it was the first place that I really got a taste of "The American West."
|Zion Canyon in Zion National Park, Utah, as seen from atop Angels Landing.|
This summer, while coming home from a field technician job in Southeast Arizona, I decided to take a 10 day road trip back to Ohio. I meandered up through Arizona, through southern Utah, through Colorado, and then back to Ohio via I-70. My plan was to hit as many national parks and other awesome natural areas as best I could for as cheaply as I could. In total I visited 5 national parks, and an assortment of national forests and other parks.
|The Narrows Hike (Left), Angels Landing Hike (Right)|
The two most memorable hikes from my roadtrip both came from Zion National Park in southwestern Utah. I did both the two most famous hikes at Zion: The Narrows and Angels Landing. The Narrows is a deep and narrow canyon which one can hike through. There is no "trail," and you just hike through the Virgin River. I opted to do 4 miles upstream and then 4 miles back downstream. The Angels Landing hike is a grueling climb up to the top of Angels Landing, a rock formation which rises 1,488 feet above the floor of Zion Canyon. The Angels Landing hike is infamous for the last 500 vertical feet in which you have to scramble up a steep sandstone face with over 1,000 foot drops on either side of the trail (which is sometimes only 2 or 3 feet wide). I'll hopefully be writing a post or two more on Zion in the near future!
|Alpine tundra and spruce forest as seen from the Trail Ridge Road, Rocky Mountain National Park.|
|Cuyahoga Valley National Park in the Autumn.|
|The Great Smoky Mountains as seen from the Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina.|
Have you been to a national park? If so, which one is your favorite? Leave a comment below!